Business fraud is rife in South Africa. In fact, the situation is so dire that a 2014 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that South African companies experience a high incidence fraud and bribery than their counterparts elsewhere in the world.
According to Marcel Klaassen, head of growth at FNB Business, the common thread among most scams is that they need to access the individuals’ private information to commit the fraud. He says the golden rule for users should be not to share business or personal information until they are sure about the legitimacy of the potential recipient.
Banks, regulators, security experts and law enforcement authorities continue to explore various measures to protect businesses from fraudulent activities. Fraud is a risk businesses cannot afford to take.
To help protect your business, here are some fraud prevention measures recommended by Klassen.
1. Update all changes to your business information
Klassen says business owners must make it a priority to frequently update all their business information with their bank. “Information such as the physical or postal addresses and details of the business owner(s) is important in protecting one’s business against fraud,” he says.
2. Report all suspicious incidents
According to Klassen, clients often ignore suspicious or fraudulent behavior when there are no immediate losses. “It is important to ensure that safety is your first priority. Even if there are no losses, it is essential to inform your bank of any suspicious behavior concerning your banking details,” he says.
3. Closely monitor your business bank account
Every business clients gets monthly statements through their choice of communication, such as email or post. Therefore, Klassesn says, it is important to regularly use online channels to view statements and general activity on your account.
4. Control access to your business accounts
Klassen says access to a company’s account is often delegated to a financial controller or the business owner, but you frequently see cases where more than two people have access to a company’s accounts. “The fewer the better as this makes the process much more transparent and potentially safer,” he says.
5. Do not ignore scam alerts
Klasses says institutions such as SABRIC (the South Africa Banking Risk Information Centre) often publish updates on new or recurring scams, to caution banking clients. He adds that business owners should ensure that they follow such updates so that their business does not fall victim to fraud which could have been avoided.
“We continue to educate and encourage our clients to be vigilant at all times because fraudsters continue to come up with new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting clients. Vigilance remains the best approach to protecting your business against fraud” Klassens says.